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August 1, 2014

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NCAA Tournament by the Odds: Vegas pick and props for national championship

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Christopher DeVargas

The Sports Book at The D Las Vegas Casino and Hotel is shown Tuesday March 13, 2012.

Although his team is a decided underdog, Kansas junior forward Thomas Robinson is projected as the leading scorer in Monday’s national championship game by Las Vegas oddsmakers.

The LVH Superbook posted Robinson’s over/under point total at 17 in Kansas’ game against Kentucky. It’s one of 32 proposition wagers the Superbook released on the 2012 NCAA championship Sunday.

It doesn’t exactly compare with the more than 300 props the Superbook offers for the Super Bowl, but the national championship will mark the last chance for bettors to toy with an expanded wagering menu for a while.

Robinson was one of 10 players assigned a point total by the Superbook staff. Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis, the national player of the year, had the second-highest at 16 points. The Superbook set Davis’ over/under rebounding mark at 10.5 and Robinson’s at 10.

Davis averages 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. Robinson scores 18 points and grabs 12 rebounds per game.

Three other Wildcats had double-digit point totals at the Superbook — Doron Lamb with 13.5, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with 12.5 and Terrence Jones with 12.5.

Vegas native Elijah Johnson, a junior guard for Kansas, had an over/under 11 points. Fifteen points was the mark for Johnson’s backcourt mate, Tyshawn Taylor, at the Superbook.

Other props include over/under 10.5 three-point shots made by both teams combined and over/under largest lead of the game by either team at 13.5.

Let’s get to the game, as Talking Points receives its final chance to improve on its 32-30 mark against the spread for the tournament. Top-confidence plays have gone 8-2.

No. 2 Kansas (+6.5) over No. 1 Kentucky First of all, line shopping is essential in this game. If you like Kentucky, there are plenty of sports books that have the Wildcats as 6-point favorites. If you like Kansas, the extra half-point is widely available. First problem: I can’t decide which side I like. The Wildcats have the talent to blow out the Jayhawks, no question, but a competitive game seems more likely. These two teams were tied at halftime when they met in November, but Kentucky wound up wining by 10. Kansas has improved tremendously since then. Kentucky has gotten better too, but it was already the best team in the country at that point.

Kentucky beat the nation’s best defensive team, Louisville, and one of the best offensive teams, Baylor, to reach the title game. But the Wildcats haven’t played a squad that can do both as well as the Jayhawks in months. With Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey up front for Kansas, Kentucky doesn’t have the usual luxury of a natural rebounding advantage in this game. Kansas is also capable of running the floor with the best. Reference the first half of the Elite Eight game with North Carolina for evidence. All the pressure is on Kentucky and coach John Calipari, but the Wildcats should pull out a close victory.

Betting the over 137, which dropped from as high as 140, looks like the most attractive play. Kansas often obliges to the desired pace of its opponent and Kentucky should want to get in plenty of possessions.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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